Music Type: Acoustic, Broadway/Theater, Classical, Commercial/Film Music, Country/Western, Electronic, Gospel, Jazz, Original Music, Soul/Funk
Event Type: Church/Worship Service, Classical/Symphonic Concert, Club Date, Community Event/Celebration, Studio/Recording Session, Theatrical/Broadway Musical
About: One of the finest classically trained jazz pianists you’ll hear anywhere, Gary Schunk amazes audiences wherever he appears. At his arsenal of keyboards, Schunk fuses his passionate energy with his seasoned technical prowess. Based primarily in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan, Schunk has garnered much acclaim as both an acoustic pianist and as electronic keyboardist for his own Electric jazz trio for which he composes and arranges using synthesizers and electronic instruments.
Schunk received his B.A. in Piano Performances from the Michigan State University in 1975. After college, he studied privately with the celebrated European classical pianist, Gyorgy Sandor. In his youth Schunk studied organ, piano, and choral music at the Palestrina Institute of Ecclesiastical Music, in Detroit, from 1965 to 1970.
Schunk’s versatility is unsurpassed: he has been featured with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; he has been first-call pit orchestra pianist at the Fisher Theatre for traveling Broadway musical theatre shows such as Evita, Phantom of the Opera, City of Angels, and Will Rogers Follies.
For the past 25 years, he has been the studio musician everybody in Detroit has called to cover any and al musical genres from gospel to country to disco to funk to, of course, Motown. Schunk toured and/or recorded with many of Detroit’s hottest Motown acts, including The Temptations, The Spinners, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and George Clinton and Funkadelic.
Although Schunk has done whatever is necessary to make a living as a full-time musician in Detroit, he has always been best known for his stellar jazz performances. He has played at every Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival since its inception in 1980. He played in an exchange group in Jazz Festivals at Montreux-Switzerland, and Pori, Finland. He was the pianist in the winning band at the 1987 Hennessey Jazz Competition which played at the Hollywood Bowl. When the big name jazz stars come to town, Schunk is a man in demand: he has played with numerous jazz greats, including Joe Williams, Earl Klugh, Sonny Stitt, Kenny Burrell, Anita O’Day, Mark Murphy, Pepper Adams, Terumasa Hino, Dave Valentin, David “Fathead” Newman… and many others. Just recently, in November of 1995, Schunk was chosen as one of ten winners in JAZZIZ magazine’s “Keyboards on Fire” contest, which celebrated original piano jazz compositions from unsigned pianists. Schunk’s electrifying composition, Backward Glance, is featured on the JAZZIZ compilation CD, and is also one of four original pieces appearing on Schunk’s independently produced debut album, The KEY Player. In a world where “Young Lions” are routinely glorified, we are sure the listener will find that some of the jazz world’s most sensational music comes from one who has been on the scene long enough to have quite a bit to memorialize. It is in this spirit that The KEY Player was born.